2nd Passage for Study: Acts 11: 19 – 26 … Linked for your study …
My Journal for Today: Today Chuck Swindoll, by using this passage from the text of Acts 11, speaks to the Christian who may seem to himself or herself as being placed in the shadows of life, … one who may be in a dark, quiet place where nothing significant seems to be cooking in life. It’s like God has taken you out of the game of life and put you on the bench. Are you there? Or maybe you’ve been there in the past and you can identify with the story of Acts 11, how God went and got Paul, via Barnabas, and pulled Paul off the bench and put him into the game of soul winning.
Swindoll’s point today is made through stories like this one; and through the lives of many of the Saints he’s been reviewing in his book, Great Days with the Great Lives. If you would go back and review the devotionals for this past year, which Swindoll has been using, every one of these men and women, great action models of the faith, went through some period of preparation or waiting on God while they were honed and shaped into usable vessels for God.
Think about it. There was Joseph’s period of over two years in prison, seemingly unjustified, after his encounter with Potiphar’s wife. There was the 40 years Moses spent in the wilderness tending sheep. There was David’s two separate times where he was an obscure shepherd boy for his dad; and then there was the time he was running for his life in the caves of the Negev when Saul was after him. Both of these were times in darkness where David was benched; but we know how God used him following both of these times for great and Godly work. And I could go on; but here today is the story of the Apostle Paul, after his conversion, be benched for a period of time in Tarsus, while God readied him, humbled him, and shaped him to finally come to Antioch where the newly named “Christians,” many of them Gentiles, were being saved.
And God was about to say, “Get in the Game, Paul! Your time and place is now!” But he had to learn to wait on God, as did all of these great Saints of the faith mentioned above. Maybe that’s where God has you now, … waiting! Swindoll aptly quotes from Psalm 27: 14, which states, “ Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD! “ As Swindoll points out, having used the giants of the faith in his book, … in his words, … “ Waiting is one of God’s preferred methods of preparing special people for significant projects.”
Some of you have been there and now you’re in the game of God’s choosing; and you can say, “Amen!” to Swindoll’s teaching here. I certainly can. Before I became an Elder in my church (and even in the early years of my Elder apprenticeship), I wandered in my discipleship and waited for years, being readied for a time when I might be used by God for His glory. During that time, and maybe in your life now, I really wondered if God was ever going to take me off the bench and get me into the game; but He did; and if you’re in a waiting time in your life, “keep your head in the game,” as any coach would say for those who’re sitting on the bench. If God has you in waiting mode, it’s for a good reason, … it’s God’s reason.
So, in faith and using the patience God has given you as a fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5: 22-23), WAIT; … and be ready for God to one day say, as He did for Paul. “Now, get in the game; it’s your time to move for My glory!”
My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank you for all those years where You had me waiting in the wings, shaping me, … preparing me for the game of life, where I could be used for Your glory. Amen